TechTalks from event: Technical session talks from ICRA 2012

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RGB-D Localization and Mapping

  • Efficient Scene Simulation for Robust Monte Carlo Localization Using an RGB-D Camera Authors: Fallon, Maurice; Johannsson, Hordur; Leonard, John
    This paper presents Kinect Monte Carlo Localization (KMCL), a new method for localization in three dimensional indoor environments using RGB-D cameras, such as the Microsoft Kinect. The approach makes use of a low fidelity a priori 3-D model of the area of operation composed of large planar segments, such as walls and ceilings, which are assumed to remain static. Using this map as input, the KMCL algorithm employs feature-based visual odometry as the particle propagation mechanism and utilizes the 3-D map and the underlying sensor image formation model to efficiently simulate RGB-D camera views at the location of particle poses, using a graphical processing unit (GPU). The generated 3D views of the scene are then used to evaluate the likelihood of the particle poses. This GPU implementation provides a factor of ten speedup over a pure distance-based method, yet provides comparable accuracy. Experimental results are presented for five different configurations, including: (1) a robotic wheelchair, (2) a sensor mounted on a person, (3) an Ascending Technologies quadrotor, (4) a Willow Garage PR2, and (5) an RWI B21 wheeled mobile robot platform. The results demonstrate that the system can perform robust localization with 3D information for motions as fast as 1.5 meters per second. The approach is designed to be applicable not just for robotics but other applications such as wearable computing.
  • Robust Egomotion Estimation Using ICP in Inverse Depth Coordinates Authors: Lui, Wen Lik Dennis; Tang, Titus Jia Jie; Drummond, Tom; Li, Wai Ho
    This paper presents a 6 degrees of freedom egomotion estimation method using Iterative Closest Point (ICP) for low cost and low accuracy range cameras such as the Microsoft Kinect. Instead of Euclidean coordinates, the method uses inverse depth coordinates which better conforms to the error characteristics of raw sensor data. Novel inverse depth formulations of point-to-point and point-to-plane error metrics are derived as part of our implementation. The implemented system runs in real time at an average of 28 frames per second (fps) on a standard computer. Extensive experiments were performed to evaluate different combinations of error metrics and parameters. Results show that our system is accurate and robust across a variety of motion trajectories. The point-to-plane error metric was found to be the best at coping with large inter-frame motion while remaining accurate and maintaining real time performance.
  • Online Egomotion Estimation of RGB-D Sensors Using Spherical Harmonics Authors: Osteen, Philip; Owens, Jason; Kessens, Chad C.
    We present a technique to estimate the egomotion of an RGB-D sensor based on rotations of functions defined on the unit sphere. In contrast to traditional approaches, our technique is not based on image features and does not require correspondences to be generated between frames of data. Instead, consecutive functions are correlated using spherical harmonic analysis. An Extended Gaussian Image (EGI), created from the local normal estimates of a point cloud, defines each function. Correlations are efficiently computed using Fourier transformations, resulting in a 3 Degree of Freedom (3-DoF) rotation estimate. An Iterative Closest Point (ICP) process then refines the initial rotation estimate and adds a translational component, yielding a full 6-DoF egomotion estimate. The focus of this work is to investigate the merits of using spherical harmonic analysis for egomotion estimation by comparison with alternative 6-DoF methods. We compare the performance of the proposed technique with that of stand-alone ICP and image feature based methods. As with other egomotion techniques, estimation errors accumulate and degrade results, necessitating correction mechanisms for robust localization. For this report, however, we use the raw estimates; no filtering or smoothing processes are applied. In-house and external benchmark data sets are analyzed for both runtime and accuracy. Results show that the algorithm is competitive in terms of both accuracy and runtime, and future work will aim to
  • Incremental Registration of RGB-D Images Authors: Dryanovski, Ivan; Jaramillo, Carlos; Xiao, Jizhong
    An RGB-D camera is a sensor which outputs range and color information about objects. Recent technological advances in this area have introduced affordable RGB-D devices in the robotics community. In this paper, we present a real-time technique for 6-DoF camera pose estimation through the incremental registration of RGB-D images. First, a set of edge features are computed from the depth and color images. An initial motion estimation is calculated through aligning the features. This initial guess is refined by applying the Iterative Closest Point algorithm on the dense point cloud data. A rigorous error analysis assesses several sets of RGB-D ground truth data via an error accumulation metric. We show that the proposed two-stage approach significantly reduces error in the pose estimation, compared to a state-of-the-art ICP registration technique.
  • An Evaluation of the RGB-D SLAM System Authors: Endres, Felix; Hess, Juergen Michael; Engelhard, Nikolas; Sturm, Jürgen; Cremers, Daniel; Burgard, Wolfram
    We present an approach to simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) for RGB-D cameras like the Microsoft Kinect. Our system concurrently estimates the trajectory of a hand-held Kinect and generates a dense 3D model of the environment. We present the key features of our approach and evaluate its performance thoroughly on a recently published dataset, including a large set of sequences of different scenes with varying camera speeds and illumination conditions. In particular, we evaluate the accuracy, robustness, and processing time for three different feature descriptors (SIFT, SURF, and ORB). The experiments demonstrate that our system can robustly deal with difficult data in common indoor scenarios while being fast enough for online operation. Our system is fully available as open-source.
  • Depth Camera Based Indoor Mobile Robot Localization and Navigation Authors: Biswas, Joydeep; Veloso, Manuela
    The sheer volume of data generated by depth cameras provides a challenge to process in real time, in particular when used for indoor mobile robot localization and navigation. We introduce the Fast Sampling Plane Filtering (FSPF) algorithm to reduce the volume of the 3D point cloud by sampling points from the depth image, and classifying local grouped sets of points as belonging to planes in 3D (the "plane filtered" points) or points that do not correspond to planes within a specified error margin (the "outlier" points). We then introduce a localization algorithm based on an observation model that down-projects the plane filtered points on to 2D, and assigns correspondences for each point to lines in the 2D map. The full sampled point cloud (consisting of both plane filtered as well as outlier points) is processed for obstacle avoidance for autonomous navigation. All our algorithms process only the depth information, and do not require additional RGB data. The FSPF, localization and obstacle avoidance algorithms run in real time at full camera frame rates(30Hz) with low CPU requirements(16%). We provide experimental results demonstrating the effectiveness of our approach for indoor mobile robot localization and navigation. We further compare the accuracy and robustness in localization using depth cameras with FSPF vs. alternative approaches that simulate laser rangefinder scans from the 3D data.

Micro and Nano Robots II

  • Motion Control of Tetrahymena Pyriformis Cells with Artificial Magnetotaxis: Model Predictive Control (MPC) Approach Authors: Ou, Yan; Kim, Dal Hyung; Kim, Paul; Kim, MinJun; Julius, Agung
    The use of live microbial cells as microscale robots is an attractive premise, primarily because they are easy to produce and to fuel. In this paper, we study the motion control of magnetotactic Tetrahymena pyriformis cells. Magnetotactic T. pyriformis is produced by introducing artificial magnetic dipole into the cells. Subsequently, they can be steered by using an external magnetic field. We observe that the external magnetic field can only be used to affect the swimming direction of the cells, while the swimming velocity depends largely on the cells’ own propulsion. Feedback information for control is obtained from a computer vision system that tracks the cell. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First, we construct a discrete-time model for the cell dynamics that is based on first principle. Subsequently, we identify the model parameters using the Least Squares approach. Second, we formulate a model predictive approach for feedback control of magnetotactic T. pyriformis. Both the model fitness and the performance of the feedback controller are verified using experimental data.
  • Robust H-Infinity Control for Electromagnetic Steering of Microrobots Authors: Marino, Hamal; Bergeles, Christos; Nelson, Bradley J.
    Electromagnetic systems for in vivo microrobot steering have the potential to enable new types of localized and minimally invasive interventions. Accurate control of microrobots in natural fluids requires precise, high-bandwidth localization and accurate knowledge of the steering system’s parameters. However, current in vivo imaging methodologies, such as fluoroscopy, must be used at low update rates to minimize radiation exposure. Low frame rates introduce localization uncertainties. Additionally, the parameters of the electromagnetic steering system are estimated with inaccuracies. These uncertainties can be addressed with robust H-infinity control, which is investigated in this paper. The controller is based on a linear uncertain dynamical model of the steering system and microrobot. Simulations show that the proposed control scheme accounts for modeling uncertainties, and that the controller can be used for servoing in low viscosity fluids using low frame rates. Experiments in a prototype electromagnetic steering system support the simulations.
  • Magnetic Dragging of Vascular Obstructions by Means of Electrostatic and Antibody Binding Authors: Khorami Llewellyn, Maral; Dario, Paolo; Menciassi, Arianna; Sinibaldi, Edoardo
    Exploitation of miniature robots and microrobots for endovascular therapeutics is a promising approach; besides chemical strategies (typically systemic), topical mechanical approaches exist for obstruction removal, which however produce harmful debris for blood circulation. Magnetic particles (MPs) are also studied for blood clot targeting. We investigated magnetic dragging of clots/debris by means of both electrostatic and antibody binding. We successfully produced magnetotactic blood clots in vitro and experimentally showed that they can be effectively dragged within a fluidic channel. We also exploited a magnetic force model in order to quantitatively analyze the experimental results, up to obtaining an estimate of the relative efficiency between electrostatic and antibody binding. Our study takes a first step towards more realistic in vivo investigations, in view of integration into microrobotic approaches to vascular obstructions removal.
  • Coordination of Droplets on Light-Actuated Digital Microfluidic Systems Authors: Ma, Zhiqiang; Akella, Srinivas
    In this paper we explore the problem of coordinating multiple droplets in light-actuated digital microfluidic systems intended for use as lab-on-a-chip systems. In a light actuated digital microfluidic system, droplets of chemicals are actuated on a photosensitive chip by moving projected light patterns. Our goal is to perform automated manipulation of multiple droplets in parallel on a microfluidic platform. To achieve collision-free droplet coordination while optimizing completion times, we apply multiple robot coordination techniques. We present a mixed integer linear programming formulation for coordinating droplets given their paths. This approach permits arbitrary droplet formations, and coordination of both individual droplets and batches of droplets. We then present a linear time stepwise approach for batch coordination of droplet matrix layouts.
  • Mobility and Kinematic Analysis of a Novel Dexterous Micro Gripper Authors: Xiao, Shunli; Li, Yangmin
    The paper presents the design and analysis of a dexterous micro-gripper with two fingers and each finger has 2-DOF translational movement function. The two fingers can move independently in hundreds of microns' range, and can cooperate with each other to realize complex operation for micro objects. The mobility characteristics and the inverse parallel kinematic model of a single finger are analyzed by resorting to screw theory and compliance and stiffness matrix method, which are validated by finite-element analysis (FEA). Both FEA and the theoretical model have well validated the movement of the fingers moving in translational way, the designed micro gripper can realize a lot of complex functions. Properly selecting the amplification ratio and the stroke of the PZT, we can mount the gripper onto a positioning stage to realize a larger motion range, which will make it be widely used in micro parts assembly and bio-operation systems.

Minimally Invasive Interventions II

  • Configuration Comparison for Surgical Robotic Systems Using a Single Access Port and Continuum Mechanisms Authors: Zheng, Xidian; Xu, Kai
    Research on robot-assisted laparoscopic SPA (Single Port Access) surgery and N.O.T.E.S (Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery) have thrived in the past a few years. A configuration similarity between these surgical robotic slaves is that two robotic arms are extended from the same access port (either a laparoscope or an endoscope) for surgical interventions. However, upon designing such a surgical robotic slave, the structure of the extended robotic arms has not been explored thoroughly based on evaluation of their distal dexterity. This paper presents a simulation-based comparison among three different structures which could be used to form these extended robotic arms. Results presented in this paper could serve as a design reference for surgical robotic slaves which use a single access port and continuum mechanisms.
  • Control of Untethered Magnetically Actuated Tools Using a Rotating Permanent Magnet in Any Position Authors: Mahoney, Arthur; Cowan, Daniel Lewis; Miller, Katie; Abbott, Jake
    It has been shown that when a magnetic dipole, such as a permanent magnet, is rotated around a fixed axis such that the dipole is perpendicular to the axis of rotation, the magnetic field vector at every point in space also rotates around a fixed axis. In this paper, we reformulate this phenomenon using linear algebraic techniques, which enables us to find the necessary dipole rotation axis to make the magnetic field at any desired point in space rotate about any desired axis. To date, untethered magnetically actuated tools (e.g., capsule endoscopes, rolling spheres, and helical-propeller microswimmers) controlled with a single rotating permanent magnet have been constrained to operate in positions where the rotating field behavior is simple and easy to visualize. We experimentally demonstrate that the results of this paper can be used to control a variety of untethered, rotating magnetic devices in any position even while the rotating permanent magnet follows trajectories independent of the devices themselves. This method constitutes a substantial step toward making a great deal of prior laboratory research regarding rotating magnetic microrobots and capsule endoscopes clinically feasible.
  • Integration and Preliminary Evaluation of an Insertable Robotic Effectors Platform for Single Port Access Surgery Authors: Bajo, Andrea; Goldman, Roger E.; Wang, Long; Fowler, Dennis; Simaan, Nabil
    In this paper, we present the integration and preliminary evaluation of a novel Insertable Robotic Effectors Platform (IREP) for Single Port Access Surgery (SPAS). The unique design of the IREP includes planar parallel mechanisms, continuum snake-like arms, wire-actuated wrists, and passive flexible components. While this design has advantages, it presents challenges in terms of modeling, control, and telemanipulation. The complete master-slave resolved-rates telemanipulation framework of the IREP along with its actuation compensation is presented. Experimental evaluation of the capabilities of this new surgical system include bi-manual exchange of rings, pick-and-place tasks, suture passing and knot tying. Results show that the IREP meets the minimal workspace and dexterity requirements specified for laparoscopic surgery, it allows for dual-arm operations such as tool exchange and knot tying in confined spaces. Although it was possible to tie a surgeon's knot with minimal training, suture passing was difficult due to the limited axial rotation of the distal wrists.
  • Constrained Filtering with Contact Detection Data for the Localization and Registration of Continuum Robots in Flexible Environments Authors: Tully, Stephen; Bajo, Andrea; Kantor, George; Choset, Howie; Simaan, Nabil
    This paper presents a novel filtering technique that uses contact detection data and environmental stiffness estimates to register and localize a robot with respect to an a priori 3D surface model. The algorithm leverages geometric constraints within a Kalman filter framework and relies on two distinct update procedures: 1) an equality constrained step for when the robot is forcefully contacting the environment, and 2) an inequality constrained step for when the robot lies in the freespace of the environment. This filtering procedure registers the robot by incrementally eliminating probabilistically infeasible state space regions until a high likelihood solution emerges. In addition to registration and localization, the algorithm can estimate the deformation of the surface model and can detect false positives with respect to contact estimation. This method is experimentally evaluated with an experiment involving a continuum robot interacting with a bench-top flexible structure. The presented algorithm produces an experimental error in registration (with respect to the end-effector position) of 1.1 mm, which is less than 0.8 percent of the robot length.
  • Real-Time Control Architecture of a Novel Single-Port Laparoscopy Bimanual Robot (SPRINT) Authors: Niccolini, Marta; Petroni, Gianluigi; Menciassi, Arianna; Dario, Paolo
    This paper presents a novel master-slave teleoperated robotic platform designed for Single Port Laparoscopy. The SPRINT (Single-Port lapaRoscopy bimaNual roboT) is composed of two high-dexterity 6 Degrees of Freedom (DOFs) robotic arms, a stereoscopic camera and a dedicated console for the robot control by the surgeon. Along with a short summary of the hardware features of the system, this paper describes the real-time control architecture of the SPRINT. Particular attention was given to the kinematic coupling between the master and the slave manipulators, as well as to the inverse kinematics algorithm. Tests performed to validate the performance of the robot in terms of accuracy are satisfactory, thus positioning the SPRINT as a candidate for the next generation of robots for Single Port Laparoscopy.
  • Remote Centre-Of-Motion Control Algorithms of 6-RRCRR Parallel Robot Assisted Surgery System (PRAMiSS) Authors: Moradi Dalvand, Mohsen; Shirinzadeh, Bijan
    In this paper a 6-RRCRR parallel robot assisted minimally invasive surgery/microsurgery system (PRAMiSS) is introduced. Remote centre-of-motion (RCM) control algorithms of PRAMiSS suitable for minimally invasive surgery and microsurgery are also presented. The programmable RCM approach is implemented in order to achieve manipulation under the constraint of moving through the fixed penetration point. Having minimised the displacements of the mobile platform of the parallel micropositioning robot, the algorithms also apply orientation constraint to the instrument and prevent the tool tip to orient due to the robot movements during the manipulation. Experimental results are provided to verify accuracy and effectiveness of the proposed RCM control algorithms for minimally invasive surgery.